The AFL's night of nights will take on a different look this year.

Held on Sunday night instead of the traditional Monday night, the 2020 Brownlow Medal count won't have anyone in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the AFL's top individual honour will be awarded virtually in a made-for-TV special.

The count will be held from 7pm AEDT on Sunday, October 18, broadcast live on Channel 7 in Melbourne or Adelaide, and on 7Mate outside of those cities.

Players invited to the count will be in the Channel 7 TV studios if they’re in Melbourne or Sydney, or at Optus Stadium, Metricon Stadium, the Gabba or Adelaide Oval.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan is expected to read the votes from Metricon Stadium. has taken a look at the Bombers' best hopes below.

Likely clubhouse leader: Zach Merrett

Merrett was a consistent performer in an otherwise disappointing season for Essendon. He's tipped to win votes in six games, which could narrowly edge him ahead of fellow onballers Andrew McGrath and Dylan Shiel. He had 33 disposals and six clearances to drag his side over the line against Adelaide, which should be one of the occasions where he's likely to poll maximum votes. He is ineligible to win the Brownlow Medal, however, having been suspended for making contact with Carlton's Jack Silvagni in round four.

Three-vote certainty: Dylan Shiel (v Collingwood, round five)

Shiel led the way in the Bombers' best performance of the season, tallying match-highs for score involvements (seven), inside 50s (six) and metres gained (570), and leading Essendon for disposals (29) in the 15-point win. The 27-year-old earned a perfect 10 to move into equal seventh in the AFL Coaches Association's AFL Champion Player Award.

02:42 Mins
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Rd 5 | Performance of the Week

Classy midfielder Dylan Shiel took the honours as the Yakult Performance of the Week, for his efforts in our win against Collingwood at the MCG.

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One-vote wonder: Joe Daniher (v Hawthorn, round 14)

First game back, first vote back? Daniher could poll in a comeback win over Hawthorn, where he marked his return from a series of injury setbacks with 14 disposals, 10 marks and three goals in a thrilling performance.

03:13 Mins
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Rd 14 | Daniher dazzles in comeback

Joe Daniher was the catalyst in our remarkable fightback against the Hawks.

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Brownlow Predictor top three: 11 Zach Merrett*, 10 Andrew McGrath, 7 Dylan Shiel*

2019 most votes: Zach Merrett (16 votes)

Ineligible players: Zach Merrett, Kyle Langford, Dylan Shiel 

Previous winners: Dick Reynolds (1934, 1937, 1938), Bill Hutchison (1952, 1953), Graham Moss (1976), Gavin Wanganeen (1993), James Hird (1996)